The University of Iowa

Sample Abstracts for Faculty Development Award Applications

Instructions for abstracts

  • The abstract must be between 400 and 1,200 CHARACTERS maximum, including spaces. 
  • Use clear and concise language that would be understood easily by a layperson.
  • Write the abstract in third person and in active voice (e.g., Professor Smith will complete research for her book on Shakespeare).
  • Summarize the proposed activity and the expected outcome of the activity.
  • Describe how the award will benefit teaching/students and the University of Iowa.
  • Describe how the award will benefit the state of Iowa or society generally.
  • Career Development Awards: Please refer to the award as a “Professional Development Assignment” or “PDA.” We are required to use this terminology in reporting to the Board of Regents.

Sample abstracts

Sample #1

Professor XXX will examine the effect of the widening of the Atlantic Ocean on the long-term evolution and biodiversity of Caribbean reef corals.  Prior to 25 million years ago, corals dispersed from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean.  However, as the Atlantic started widening ~10-25 million years ago, the species pool split, isolating Caribbean reefs.  The project will apply newly developed, non-traditional morphologic techniques to construct evolutionary trees and analyze patterns of species origination and extinction using fossil material, thus adding to our understanding of the evolution of the natural world.  In this way, the project may help us save existing species from extinction, thus benefiting society someday.  This project is also expected to result in several journal articles, a grant from ________, and new material for Professor XXX’s undergraduate and graduate courses.

Sample #2

Legislatures often delegate policymaking authority to bureaucracies because policies can be complex and agencies have substantial expertise.  At other times legislatures write detailed legislation that limits agency discretion to ensure that bureaucracies choose policies that are consistent with the preferences of elected officials and the public.  Professor YYY’s study seeks to explain why legislatures do or do not attempt to constrain bureaucracies.  He will incorporate his findings into his undergraduate course, Political Decision Making.  Moreover, the findings will assist policy makers and bureaucrats understand the processes in which they operate.

Sample #3

Professor ZZZ’s project concerns changes in the hiring and promotion practices of employers over a 20-year period.  Building on his earlier study of six Chicago employers, he will conduct initial field work with these employers and prepare a proposal to the National Science Foundation to conduct a quasi-panel organizational study of how staffing practices have adapted to social, technological, economic and demographic changes.  The results will help businesses in Iowa and beyond understand and adjust to these changes.  Professor ZZZ will involve graduate students in the project, in which they will learn about fieldwork methods and business staffing practices.